Gas prices continue to soar in California

Sam Krikorian
CBS News

(CBS News) LOS ANGELES - Gas prices rose 17 cents overnight bringing the one-week increase in California to nearly 36 cents.

At Sam Krikorian's gas station in North Hollywood, the price of gas has jumped 66 cents in four days.

"It's been killing everybody," said Krikorian. "It's going to kill the business. It's going to to affect the economy."

Five days ago, he filled the station's 8,000 gallon tank for $30,000. He cannot afford to fill it back up because it would now cost him $50,000.

"Twenty-thousand more for the same truck, same refinery, same kind of gas which doesn't make any sense," said Krikorian.

The price spike is being caused by the temporary loss of two California refineries. Once caught fire in August and a power outage closed another this week. The state uses a special blend of fuel to cut down on the smog. Almost all of the blend is made in California.

Tom Robinson owns 34 gas stations. He says until the refineries are fixed prices will remain high.

"California is geographically isolated in the U.S.," said Robinson. "California has special fuels and so you have to be able to not only get fuel here but it has to meet our specifications."

Some stations are now charging nearly $6 a gallon. Sam Krikorian is planning to shut down his pumps when he runs out of gas.

"[In] a couple weeks or a month you're going to see a lot of independent people like me they're going to go out of business," said Krikorian.

Before Friday ended, Krikorian ran out of gas. His pumps will remain off until the price comes down.

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